Rice: Mexican Brown Rice – Arroz a la Mexicana con Arroz Integral

Mexican Brown Rice - ForkFingersChopsticks.com

Since my recent post of Mexican rice, arroz a la Mexicana, using long grain white rice (read about the traditional version and its history), several of you have sent me requests for a brown rice version.

I like many of you enjoy brown rice – both for its taste and nutritional benefits. So, I’ve just upped my game by making a Mexican brown rice version.

First though, I have to admit, I’ve attempted this in the past. But, I was less than satisfied with the results – generally involving tripling the simmer time, and the final product lacking texture and flavor. I looked for outside guidance but it fell short – generally, because brown rice is not too common to Mexican cookery.

Yesterday, however, because of your insistence, I finally created a recipe I am very pleased with and glad to share.

I’ve pulled out a few tricks:  the rice is pre-soaked to soften the grain; saute the rice for about 10 minutes versus 5 for the white version; and, the rice is boiled for 5 minutes before simmering for 40 minutes (longer boil time and simmer time).

One more thing. I am very familiar with the process of Mexican rice in this pilaf style, so I generally know how to make adjustments such as removing/adding a little liquid; changing the pot to make a larger quantity and using less water for the same. However, if you’re new to it and depending on where you are – sea level or the top of the Rocky Mountains, you may have to adjust slightly.

Let the first attempt be just that. Print this recipe, follow it as is and gauge how it comes out for you. Make notes on how you should adjust next go around.

Happy cooking!

Brown Rice - Drain Browning - ForkfingersChopsticks

Mexican Brown Rice - Finished - ForkfingersChopsticks

Mexican Brown Rice – Arroz a la Mexicana con Arroz Integral

Serves 4

This recipe is very similar to my traditional Mexican rice recipe using white rice.


– Make sure to use long grain brown rice
– Use a heavy-bottomed pot that is wider, than deep. (I used a 9 inch wide x 4 inch deep pot.)

– Make sure it also has a tight fitting lid.
– After the tomato and stock/water have been added and it comes to a boil – do not stir. Avoid lifting lid while it simmers.
– Use a fork to fluff rice; do NOT use a spoon (it can turn it to mush).


3 tablespoons oil (canola, vegetable or sunflower)

1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice

1/4 onion, diced small

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 – 2 serrano chiles, left whole or cut in half lengthwise and de-seeded

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 carrots, diced medium

1 zucchini, diced large or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed (optional)

3 cups hot chicken stock, vegetable stock or water*

1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce**

1 – 2 teaspoons salt

*If using chicken stock made from bouillon –adjust salt accordingly


  1. Soak brown rice in a bowl with hot water for 15 minutes. Drain well in a colander or sieve, removing as much water as possible. Set aside in colander.
  2. Prepare ingredients in advance – measure and chop onions and carrots.
  3. On medium-high heat, heat a medium-size pot, then add the oil. When oil is hot, add the drained rice; sauté and turn frequently so that the rice cooks evenly. When the rice is barely a golden color (after about 8 to 10 minutes of sautéing) add the onions; sauté for about 2 minutes. Then add the garlic, chiles, cumin, carrots and corn to the pot; sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring almost constantly to avoid burning garlic.
  4. Carefully and slowly add the hot stock/water to the rice – it may spatter. Immediately stir in the tomato sauce. Add the salt, starting with 1 teaspoon; taste the broth (it should be a tad salty – but it will adjust as it is absorbed).
  5. Bring rice with liquid to a boil. Allow to boil for 5 minutes. Add diced zucchini if using. Cover with a tight lid and reduce heat to a low, allowing rice to simmer for 40 minutes. Avoid lifting the lid repeatedly. After 40 minutes, turn off heat and let rice sit covered for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve hot.


**Tomato:  substitute tomato sauce with about 1/2 pound fresh tomatoes – skinned and pureed.

Vegetables:  carrots, peas, corn, zucchini, green or red bell peppers.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Print & If you liked this post, please share:
  • Print
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks

Tags: , , , ,

11 Responses to Rice: Mexican Brown Rice – Arroz a la Mexicana con Arroz Integral

  1. […] Rice: Mexican Brown Rice – Arroz a la Mexica con Arroz Integral | Fork Fingers Chopsticks […]

  2. sarah says:

    This was delicious! However, I added corn, not as much as you suggested, but a little, and it ended up tough and chewy. I think the cooking time for brown rice is too long for corn. But the carrots were an excellent addition, and I added peas too. It was very good with homemade refried beans. I will make this again.

  3. @Sarah: So glad you liked the brown rice version of this Mexican staple. I usually add carrots and zucchini. When I’ve made it with corn, there was no problem. I usually use frozen corn.
    Corn & Peas: If you really want to add corn to your version, I’d recommend that you cook or heat the corn kernals separately, drain off the excess liquid and add them to the rice once it’s full cooked, before you fluff it with the fork. A similar technique can be used for peas, so they stay more fresh and bright green.

  4. Leah says:

    I really enjoyed this recipe. I’ve been wanting to consume more brown rice, but had never been successful with it until this. I made a couple of adjustments in case someone is interested in more of a dry taqueria style rice.

    First, I omitted the chile, cumin, and tomato sauce. Mostly I didn’t use tomato sauce because I didn’t have any on hand.

    Second, when adding the carrot I also added a tomato billion cube. I know it seems counter intuitive to do this to brown rice, but its how we make rice, plus it turns the water into broth. Then when I added the water and salt I made sure to taste for the adjustment.

    That’s it. I used the zucchini and I didn’t added frozen vegetables like I usually do, because of the carrot.
    Thanks for a great recipe that I’ll use over and over. Some time I plan on making the full recipe as I think it would be a fantastic filler for vegetarian bell peppers or cabbage rolls.

  5. […] tacos using grass-fed and organic beef.  On the side we had this Mexican brown rice, which is a new favorite that I’ll definitely make again.  If you need a good Mexican rice […]

  6. iblobar says:

    Using brown rice is suppose to be healthier, correct? I want to start using this, but and a big but, the taste is my main concern. Does it taste different? I’m gonna make arroz con pollo and will use the brown rice. I’ll let u know what happens. Thanks for recipe!

  7. Jessica says:

    I tried this tonight (no zucchini or peas) and added chicken when simmering, but not all of my rice was cooked. :( The flavor is excellent and I’d like to make this again, but any suggestions on getting all the rice cooked? I soaked it and followed the recipe exactly.

  8. Ana says:

    thanks for sharing. i’ve been looking for a healthier alternative to mexican rice and you may have just provided it. i’m making this today!

  9. Flo says:

    Just have to say that this is the best recipe for mexican style brown rice that I’ve found online! I used El Pato tomato sauce with jalapeno, omitted the zucchini, and only one serrano chili. YUM.

  10. Laurie says:

    This rice was delicious! I used bell pepper instead of zuccini and folded the corn in once the rice was cooked. I can’t stop eating it!

  11. Anne says:

    I have a pot of this rice cooking on the stove at the moment! Left out the carrot and zucchini. Used two cups of rice to four cups of vegetable stock. Added one grilled, diced red bell pepper, a 10oz can of Rotel for Chili Fixins in place of the tomato sauce, a small can of diced green chilies and a little New Mexico red chili powder, about one Tbsp…will add a can of sweet corn later when the rice is almost done. Using as a side dish to beef tacos later for supper. It smells heavenly, so I know this will be a keeper for future cooking! We are going heart healthy in our house, thus the use of brown Basmati or brown Jasmine rice in place of white rice. Thank you for sharing this healthy recipe! :)

Post Your Comment